Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My experience with prenatal testing.

One of my first posts was my baby girls birth story.  In all honesty I think the reason I started the blog was to get my story out there.  By out there I mean taking all the emotions I had tied up in the experience and spilling them into the interweb hoping to find companions in the misery I experienced for almost 7 and a half months.  To help me justify my feelings.  Even the ones that crop up to this day.

Up till that point in my life I had never really dealt with something as hard and confusing as Isabella's prenatal testing ordeal.  With my first pregnancy I signed up for the nuchal translucency test not because I was concerned about my babies chromosome count, it was simply because the test included a ultrasound.  Any chance to see the blob with a flickering white shadow again was a chance to be taken.  I honestly did not even know what they were looking at in the NT ultrasound with Noah nor did I care.  The ultrasound at 13 weeks was a whole baby!  Complete with arms and fingers and legs and toes and they were pretty sure...A PENIS!  I left with absolutely no idea what the hell they were looking for but totally in love with my son (she was 70% sure). It was a no brainer that I would be having that additional ultrasound in any of my future pregnancies.

Fast forward two years and that future pregnancy was a reality.  The very first visit to the obstetrician and I was signed up for the nuchal ultrasound.  Little did I know that my naive notions about what this test was all about were going to be tested.  I go into detail about the experience in Bella's birth post here.  To make it simple, I did not expect to have the odds that a 55 year old woman is given that my baby could have Down syndrome.  I was 29, shocked and scared out of my mind.

It was my first chance to take all my "perfect" notions about my "perfect" family and my "perfect" babies and imagine my life maybe not as "perfect" as I thought it would be.  It is a scary notion.  The thought that you may have a baby that will not be what you expected. Not what everybody was picturing when you tell them your expecting.  Almost all of my emotions were more selfish then I could recognize at the time.  I can say that honestly, if it happened to me again, I would most likely feel the same way.  It is in our nature to surround ourselves with people that are similar to us.  People that share the same interests, ideas, and sometimes even appearance.    The idea that YOUR baby will not be in the same image that you have of yourself is, at first, terrifying and I am ashamed to admit...embarrassing.  I think maybe even more so when that idea is planted by a doctor before your baby is even here.  I had time mourn my little girl who had not even been born yet. What was I mourning?  Why was I so sad? What was wrong with me? What was wrong with her? I had not even met my daughter yet and I was already so desperately terrified of her.

It was because of all these emotions that I started a board on Babycenter just for mom's that were going through the same prenatal testing experience.  I started it thinking I would be lucky if 5 people joined.  Today that number is almost 200 and grows daily.  It is something that I am so happy I did.  I have learned so much from these women.  Women who give birth to babies with and without the predicted prenatal diagnoses that a NT can detect.  They have taught me more than I could have ever imagined and I truly wish I had read their words when I was expecting my Bella.

When I hear another mom say that the board got her through her entire pregnancy I smile with my whole heart.  It is exactly what I set out to do.  It makes me feel really good at the end of the day.  That and the son and daughter that I would have loved no matter how the hell they were born.  That is the part you don't learn till the very end of this journey.  These are your babies but they are not you.  They will all be different. They will be okay so long as you just do what you are suppose to.  Love them.  The way they are.  It is a struggle to keep your own selfish want to have a mini you running around that will get in the way but YOU WILL love them any way they are.  That is one test that does not have a false positive.

The Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound Information Group

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